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NWCC celebrates historic first

Gitwinksihlkw resident and long-time College supporter Irene Seguin (Hagwiloo Kam Saxwhl Giis) was elected Chair of the Northwest Community College (NWCC) Board of Governors at its June meeting. Hagwiloo Kam Saxwhl Giiss appointment marks the first time in the Colleges history this post will be held by a First Nations person. One of eight provincially appointed community members on the Board, Seguin has been the Nass Valley representative since 2006. Seguin, an education administrator and housing services manager for the Village of Gitwinksihlkw and graduate of NWCCs First Nations Public Administration Program, says her election as the first Aboriginal Chair will only strengthen what is already a college known for its high Aboriginal student numbers. I was recently a guest speaker at NWCCs graduation ceremony. I told the crowd that the inclusion of First Nations board members, staff and professors at Northwest Community College is critical to creating a learning environment in which First Nations people will really be comfortable, Seguin said. She says NWCC has already done so much to become First Nations sensitive which has helped to enhance access to more Aboriginal students and supported their journey to successful careers. The College has come a long way First Nations people are choosing to stay and study in their communities and the Northwest, Seguin added. College President Stephanie Forsyth says shes thrilled to have Seguin assume the role of Board Chair. Irene is a highly respected mentor and elder in her Nation and in the college community. Over the years she has served as a College Board member, Chair and Vice-Chair of NWCCs First Nations Council and various committees and task forces. Hagwiloo Kam Saxwhl Giis has been instrumental in the indigenization of this college, a college which embraces all cultures within the Northwest and recognizes the particular cultural and traditional importance of our First Peoples. NWCC now serves more First Nations and Metis students than any post-secondary institution in the province (over 40%) and more than 20% of its workforce is of Aboriginal descent. It is involved in 14 different First Nations communities and works closely with the Northwests First Nations institutes such as Wilp Wilxooskwhl Nisgaa and the Kitimat Valley Institute. Seguin will be officially installed as NWCC Board Chair at a ceremony on Friday, October 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kitsumkalum Community Hall in Terrace. This historic event is open to the media.

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